This is the time of year for bargain shopping. Not only bargain shopping in boutiques and department stores, WalMart included, but bargain shopping at your local greenhouse. Yesterday I wasn't even looking for bargains when I ran across some give-aways. "Free to a Good Home," the sign said, and I helped myself to a free tomato plant and a free eggplant.
My local greenhouse reduces prices throughout the growing season, but this time of year they offer great bargains. I don't know about you, but I've have enough perennials, and since I'm a do-it-yourself gardener....meaning I grow plants from seeds, haul my own bags of dehydrated cow manure, amend my own soil, and keep a compost pile. I do my own weeding, mulching, and transplanting, too. In other words, I don't hire someone to do my garden work. Instead, I think of it as exercise, and refuse to give away the benefits I get.
(A plant I bought at a discount.)
If you enjoy gardening like I do, consider visiting your local greenhouse as soon as you can and check out their end-of-season sales. In my area, which is Zone 7, this is the perfect time to go. If a plant has a few brown leaves, cut them off and revive the plant with water and sunshine. If you coddle it a little, it will come back.
(Free plants from crossbreeding)
My Own Daylily (one I propagated)
Peony bought at a discount
Did you know that hydrangeas can be started by merely laying a branch on the ground and covering it with a couple inches of soil? That's how I got the three I have. To get the intense blue hydrangas you see in the picture, mulch your plant with pine straw. An acidic soil will produce blue flowers, an alkaline soil will produce pink flowers. If you want pink, sprinkle some lime around the base of your plant.
Bargains come in packages, too, and this year I bought seven packages of dahlia corms at 60% off. Although I planted late, everything came up. I staked each plant and now I eagerly await the late-summer blooms.
More bargains come at the end of November, and that's when I buy next spring's tulips and daffodils. I have been known to plant bulbs when the ground is so cold it's almost frozen, and what a thrill I get in the spring when they bloom. I always buy at 60% discount.
Tulips and grape hycienths
Beware, however, if you buy packaged bulbs at discount. Make sure you check each package for a healthy sprout. Bulbs will probably be dormant, but dahlias and other corms often send up shoots that can easily break off in a package. Don't buy them if they're broken.
Lilies from discounted bulbs
Digging and dividing is another way to get extra plants. Also, do a plant swap with aneighbor who likes gardening. I have made many garden friends that way. The wood poppy, or celandine poppy, was given to me by a friend. It's prolific and it wasn't long until I was able to share it with my gardening friends.
Dividing hostas to get more plants.
Bee Balm spreads throughout my garden
The common name for this is Wood Poppy. It seeds itself.
My sunflowers and hollyhocks came from internet friends who sent seeds.
If you're like me, you're always dividing and moving plants. If a plant doesn't do well in one spot, I move it to another spot. The fun comes when my plants get big enough so I can divide and swap with other gardeners. One friend had vine I admired.....she called it Goldilocks. It was a fairly new plant and wasn't too big, but because I like it so, she snipped a piece and handed it to me. A good friend will do that sort of thing.
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